Translated by Sandy Lau
Dress For Summer! Tips On How To Match Your Yukata With The Obi
Written by Misaki Tachibana
Yukatas are Japanese clothing that can be comfortably worn casually and its overall impression changes with how your obi is tied. Changing the obi and design of your yukata to match the colors of your geta strap is another fun aspect of the fashion.
Just as Western clothing has its own levels of formality, so too does Japanese clothing have its own rules and seasons. Yukata, the light summer kimonos, are an item of Japanese clothing that can be comfortably worn casually, even around the house, as its overall impression changes with how your obi, or sash, is tied.
Changing the obi and design of your yukata to match the colors of your geta strap (the strap between the big and second toe) is another fun aspect of the fashion.
We will introduce some obi and yukata available for women from common Japanese designs to pop-y, colorful designs with the cooperation of the rental kimono service Mine Kichijoji.
Traditional Yukata Designs
Yukata were once worn like bathrobes. A feature of many traditional yukata designs is their simple pattern in white, black, or navy blue.
Here is one decorated with a somewhat large chrysanthemum pattern.
There were also once meanings behind each yukata design. Although nowadays most people choose their yukata based on personal preferences, there were designs that were especially preferred during each season of the year.
Unconventional Modern Yukata Designs
Here is an array of extremely vivid colored yukata that are completely different from the pale colors of the ones above. These are what are called modern style yukata.
Black lace under pink roses. There's no need to mention that, with so many new designs, the possible variations of matching the yukata with the obi (belt) also increase.
A yukata with a light blue Japanese morning glory. Though the morning glory blooms from the rainy season until early summer, wouldn't you say this design is unexpectedly rare?
Obi: An Important Accent to Japanese Clothing
When wearing a yukata with a heavy design, one enjoyable part of coordinating, even for beginners, is the obi (belt). Often, people will use a half-width obi with their yukata, that is, an obi that is half the width of an obi for a kimono.
This is a half-width obi made with glittery thread. It would probably look good with a simple navy blue or deep blue yukata.
This cherry blossom design, one that Japanese people are very well-acquainted with, continues to be loved regardless of the era or season.
Here is an obi with a four-leaf clover design printed inside. It could possibly match well with a yukata with a slightly retro design.
An obi’s design isn’t the only thing that exudes personality; how you tie it does as well. There are many different knots to go through, so let’s look at a few of them.
This is a knot called the ichimonji using a half-width obi. This knot is simple and gives a calm impression.
The tsunodashi musubi is a knot that is used even with casual kimonos. If you are using an obi with a somewhat large design on it, the knot will add an accent to your appearance from behind.
Men’s wear not only has many yukata designs of its own, but also many variations of obi knots as well. We will briefly introduce a few of them.
The knot called the kai-no-kuchi is said to be the most conventional knot even for men’s yukata. The diagonally slanted triangle knot is its main feature.
This is the yoichi musubi. It’s been said that this name came about because it was a favored obi knot of a popular kabuki actor. This knot is also used by women.
This is a knot called the ronin musubi. Its exact shape will differ depending on the length of your obi. These loose lower back knots are a trait of men’s obis.
What Look Should You Go For?
When looking at obis and yukata, there are both modern and classic sides. However, there are no rules that say you need to combine this with that. You can freely choose your favorite designs and knots. But when creating a yukata look, what kind of look should you go for, you ask?
For example, if you go with a heko obi, an obi made with soft, thin fabric, your coordinate will give off a soft impression due to the lightly hanging and swaying hem of the obi. Or you can create a solid outfit by matching the color of your obi with the color of the small details on your yukata.
Wearing geta with red straps will result in an overall sense of unity. It’s unexpectedly difficult to become fashion-conscious with your footwear, but definitely please try it out.
This light blue color that the model is wearing gives off a refreshing feeling that is perfect for summer. You can add an accent color by devising a way to knot the plain obi so that both sides are visible. The large white flower corsage is an accent piece that stands out thanks to the plain obi.
There are several ways to add small accents with accessories outside of your obi. For example, the pink in this drawstring bag matches the cherry blossom design on her yukata.
Matching the yellow of her foot straps to the yellow in the flower on her obi is also stylish.
It’s easy to envision a precise image of Japanese clothing, but recently there has been an increase in a free way of thinking that includes how one wears their clothes regardless of the colors. Please enjoy summer fashion in Japan to your own clothing preferences.
Some photos courtesy of: Ringo-a.me (Japanese)